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Let’s read Romans 8:1 from the New American Standard Bible, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The King James Version adds “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I believe this addition is unwarranted and misleading, for it makes our being free from condemnation depend on our being “yielded to the Spirit” instead of our being “in Christ Jesus.” The phrase is found in verse 4, where it belongs, for there our “state” is being addressed, whereas in verse 1 our perfect “standing” before God is being considered.

In Romans 3:19 we are told, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (NKJV). The Law has proven that all men are guilty of sin, and thus they are in a place of condemnation. To add to man’s dilemma, there is nothing we can do to make ourselves righteous, for verse 20 goes on to say, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” But what man can’t do, God has done! He has provided a way for us to be righteous in His sight. This is the truth of verse 21, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (NKJV). God sent His Son to the cross to pay for our sins so that we may be declared righteous. This is the blessed truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” The moment a sinner believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior, God declares him to be righteous, or “not guilty,” for He sees us “in Christ Jesus.” The believing sinner is no longer in a position of condemnation, and thus our verse triumphantly declares, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Have you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior?

After we are made righteous through Christ and His work on the cross, we can then walk in a way that is pleasing to God. He has given the believer the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a holy life, so in Romans 8:4 we read that “…the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” As we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit the very life of Christ will be manifested in us and what the law had required, which is a holy life, will be fulfilled in us. But even if we fail to walk according to the Spirit, our blessed position in Christ remains the same, for that “position” is based on God’s grace and Christ’s work on the cross for us, and not on our “performance.” Praise God for this!  (151.2)  (DO)